Hands on: Fitbit Versa Lite review

Like the Fitbit Versa, but cheaper

What is a hands on review?
TODO alt text
Image Credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

We're still not certain on the price for the Fitbit Versa Lite, but if you're after an affordable smartwatch with lots of fitness features this may be one of the best entry points into the world of wearables.

For

  • Small, sleek design
  • Strong color choices

Against

  • Odd price point
  • Can't track swims

Want a smartwatch but don’t want to pay lots for it? There are lots of cheap smartwatch options on the market, but both the Fitbit options so far - that's the Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic - are relatively expensive, so the company wants to change that with its Versa Lite.

The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition is a new version of last year’s best-selling Fitbit Versa, but comes with a few features stripped away to ensure a slightly lower price.

It’s not the cheapest smartwatch out there, but it’s significantly less than the original selling price of the Versa and much less than the Ionic, potentially making it a top choice for your first smartwatch. Plus it may also be a great way to jump into the world of wearables and start tracking your fitness.

Fitbit Versa Lite release date and price 

Image Credit: Fitbit

Image Credit: Fitbit

You can pre-order the Fitbit Versa Lite now and it will be on sale from some point this month (March) in the US and UK. Although Fitbit has yet to share its official release date, the listing on Walmart suggests it'll available in the US from Friday 15 March.

Those in the UK will likely have to wait a week longer with both Amazon UK and Argos using Friday 22 March as placeholder dates. 

The price is where this gets interesting with it only costing $159.95 / £149.99 / AU$249.95, compared to the standard Fitbit Versa’s selling price of $199.95 / £199.99 / AU$299.95.

We’ve seen the Versa’s price drop a lot recently though in some places, so we’d hope for the price of the Versa Lite to drop soon after launch too.

In fact, Amazon sold the Fitbit Versa for only £135.99 / $145 over the Christmas sales period. So we’re hoping retailers will take the Fitbit Versa Lite and in the following months drop the price lower than what you’ll be paying on day one, but there's no guarantee that will be the case.

Design and display

If you’ve used the Fitbit Versa, you’ll know a lot of the design that’s on offer here. The Lite edition is - no surprises here - the company’s most lightweight smartwatch yet, although we don't currently know the exact size of the device. 

In our limited testing time it seemed comfortable to wear, and this will be particularly suitable if you have smaller wrists. It will be much more suited to you than the Fitbit Ionic was.

There’s a touchscreen on the front, and while we don’t currently have the specs we know it’s a full color display and we expect it to have a resolution of 300 x 300 (that's what the Fitbit Versa has). It seemed clear and bright in our testing time, but Fitbit's screen tech has never seemed as vibrant as the Apple Watch 4 or some Wear OS devices.

Image 1 of 3

Image 2 of 3

Image 3 of 3

There are thick bezels around the display here, but if you’re using a black watch face it’s difficult to notice these. The Fitbit logo is also emblazoned along the bottom bezel.

The left hand side of the watch contains the only button that you’ll be using on the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition, which will wake up the watch ready for you to cycle through the menus you need to see.

Your watch will come with a silicone band in the box, but there are a selection of other straps you can buy alongside it if you want to mix up the style. You can also buy existing Fitbit Versa accessories to pair with the Versa Lite.

The watch itself comes in white, lilac, mulberry and marina blue colors. Get it in one of the latter two and the watch body will be the same color (rather than silver), providing an interesting effect we haven’t seen on previous Fitbit products.

Image 1 of 4

Image Credit: Fitbit

Image Credit: Fitbit
Image 2 of 4

Image Credit: Fitbit

Image Credit: Fitbit
Image 3 of 4

Image Credit: Fitbit

Image Credit: Fitbit
Image 4 of 4

Image Credit: Fitbit

Image Credit: Fitbit

Fitness

Much like the Fitbit Versa, the company has opted for connected GPS here, so you’ll have to take your phone out exercising if you plan to use this to track your position and route while running or cycling.

The Versa Lite Edition has the company's own PurePulse 24/7 heart rate tracker on the rear and comes with a variety of workouts that you can do such as yoga, running, cycling and more, with a couple of flicks being all you need to start tracking them.

Image 1 of 2

Image 2 of 2

It can automatically track your workouts too, so if you stop during your run the watch will realize and put you on pause until you start moving again. There are no on-screen workouts here though, which is something reserved for top-end Fitbit products.

Other features on offer with the Fitbit Versa Lite include guided breathing exercises, cardio fitness level and female health tracking. You'll get a clear picture of your daily stats on the watch, but the app is where you'll be able to break down data over a longer period.

Smartwatch features

Fitbit's smartwatch platform isn't as mature as Wear OS or watchOS - that's what the Apple Watch uses - but it does offer a variety of third-party apps alongside the company's own services.

You won't get Fitbit Pay or be able to upload music to the Fitbit Versa Lite. To get those features you'll have to buy the Fitbit Versa Special Edition, or the normal Fitbit Versa for those in Australia.

You can get notifications pushed from your phone to your Versa Lite though, plus if you're on Android you'll be able to use smart replies too. We've yet to test these out though, and we'll be sure to dig into these during our full review.

Battery life

Fitbit is claiming the Versa Lite Edition will last for four days from a single charge, but you’ll want to bear in mind that will change depending on how much you’re using it. If you’re constantly using it for workouts, you won’t get such great battery life.

The standard Fitbit Versa came with the same claim, and in our review we found the watch would last for somewhere between three and four days depending on how much we used it.

Early verdict

The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition provides a way for those who want their first smartwatch to buy one from Fitbit without having to spend a fortune, we’re just not certain the price is right.

Considering we’ve seen third-party retailers drop the price of the original Versa below what the Fitbit Versa Lite costs, and given that there’s no clear unique selling point for the average person, we’re not 100% sure you’ll want to buy this over waiting for the Versa to appear in a sale.

Then again, that possibly won’t be happening again for some time given that the big sales are around the end of the year, so you may want to grab the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition rather than waiting.

Image Credit: TechRadar

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.